by Terry Rogers
On Thursday, March 15, Ann M. Hurst, MSM, BSN, RN, provided members of the community with a preview of the new Nemours Children’s Health System building which will be located on the new Bayhealth Sussex Campus in Milford. The organization hopes to break ground on the new building in late 2018 with completion in 2020.
“When we looked at where we were providing services to children in the area, we discovered that we had no specialty care below Wilmington,” Hurst said. “Parents were driving their children two hours or more, to Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, to get the specialty care they needed and we realized we needed to address that. Nemours is committed to expanding our service offerings to better meet the needs of more children and improve health outcomes. With the new Bayhealth Campus, we knew we had a unique opportunity to bring that care to southern Delaware.”
Nemours will occupy approximately 35,000 square feet on the first floor of Bayhealth’s Medical Office Building. A special pediatric entrance will allow children to go directly to the pediatric center. Another entrance will allow Nemours’ senior patients to enter the building and access the Nemours check-in desk while others will use elevators just inside the door to access doctor’s offices or other Bayhealth services that will be housed on the second and third floor.
“The entire layout of our area in the building was created using focus groups to determine the needs of the community,” Hurst explained. “The area will include specialty care, therapy services, diagnostic services, primary pediatric care and senior care. There will be a community meeting room and café in the building as well.”
The Nemours Children’s Health System was established as The Nemours Foundation through the philanthropy of Alfred I. duPont. In his will, Mr. duPont left funds to establish a children’s hospital and, initially, the hospital served orthopedic children who lived at the hospital with parents visiting on weekends. Another, lesser known portion of Mr. duPont’s will established a small fund that provides services to low-income senior citizens. Nemours has a primary care office as well as a senior care office in Milford currently, but the new location will house them all in one location.
“We will have a full-service therapy center,” Kim Pierson, Nemours Senior Director, Rehab Therapeutic Services, said. “There will be a large gym for treatments as well as sensory and swing rooms for children who may have sensory issues, especially those on the autism spectrum.”
Katrina Wilson, who works in Milford’s pediatric primary care office, said that having specialty care in Milford will be extremely beneficial. “Children who come to Nemours are assigned a primary care doctor who they see regularly,” Wilson explained. “Families want to see their doctor for regular care. We also work with the family advisory council who have been through or are in the process with Nemours so they make suggestions, provide critiques and help us with decision-making. These are the people who have helped us design this space so that it functions in the best way possible.”
In addition to services for children, Nemours provides assistance to low-income senior citizens. In order to qualify, the individual must be 65 years of age or older, a Delaware resident, and their income cannot be more than $20,600 for an individual or $31,900 for a couple. The program provides eye, dental and hearing care. Currently, the elder care program is housed in two offices in the Airpark Plaza in Milford. This means that senior citizens who need more than one type of care, must exit one building and enter another to receive services. The new location will allow seniors to get all services under one roof.
Robert Wechtenhiser, whose 6-year old granddaughter was diagnosed with Type I diabetes recently, said that having Nemours close to home will be extremely beneficial.
“She woke up with a high temperature and vomiting,” Wechtenhiser explained. “Her parents took her to Milford where they discovered the diabetes. It was too foggy for the helicopter, so Nemours sent an ambulance with a team of five of the nicest people. They took her to Nemours and started treatment. Over a three-day period, they taught all of us how to manage her diabetes, how to inject insulin, how she has to eat.” As his granddaughter must have periodic checkups and the hour-and-a-half ride can be difficult, Mr. Wechtenhiser said he cannot wait for the specialized care so close to home.
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